This post is inspired by my youngest niece and for kids like her who have just learned the ‘truth’ about Christmas.
I remember that awful day. I was walking home from school trying to muster up the courage to ask my mum the question. I really didn’t want to know the answer but knew I needed to find out once and for all. So I came in, sat on the sofa with her and said; “Mum, tell me the truth is Santa real?” As much as she wanted to carry on the pretense she knew it was game over, she’d been cornered by a 10 year old who wanted the truth. As she told me about who Santa really was, the flying reindeer…or lack of and why my stocking was always filled with very things I needed I realized Christmas would never be the same for me again. It had lost it’s magic. Everything I loved about Christmas was gone. The twinkly lights didn’t hold the same excitement, I no longer had a need to stick a sign in the front garden to remind Santa to stop by my house and I stopped getting those Christmas Eve butterflies. This lasted for years until suddenly Christmas got real.
I thought it’d be fun to write a letter to my 10 year old self to offer some comfort in light of the heartbreaking news I’d just received.
Today’s been a rough day. It feels like a cruel day were you have had to grown-up too soon. I mean, couldn’t they have prolonged it a few more years? Couldn’t they have suggested you heard the kids wrong in the playground? Why did they have to explain everything you thought was magical and special? Don’t blame your parents, they are as saddened as you are that this day has come. The day were all your sense of wonder, excitement and awe ended for Christmas.
You’re now left wondering what Christmas is really all about. You loved writing your letter to Santa weeks in advance. You loved reading ‘It was the night before Christmas’ with your dad on Christmas Eve and then listening for reindeer on the roof. You loved waking up on December 25th to be showered with presents and spend the day playing with every single one. But now. Well, now, none of that excites you because it isn’t real.
I have to write you to tell you about the realness of Christmas. You don’t realize this now but in 5 years time your life is going to change forever! It’s going to so dramatically change that you will not be the same person you are in this moment. You are going to experience what Christmas is really about and trust me, it’s way better than any of the junk that’s breaking your heart right now. You know the way you love to sing Christmas Carols in school and how you get really emotional when you hear the line ‘Oh come let us adore Him’ in one of the songs and you don’t know why?
Laura, you soon meet the One they’re singing about. You meet Jesus Christ, love Himself. You realize His great love for you, the price he paid on the cross for your sin so that you can have a brand new life on earth and a home in heaven. You give your life to Him and in an instant you understand the true meaning behind Christmas. You realize that Christmas is not about buying gifts, eating food or believing in fairy tales. You realize that Christmas is about the greatest invasion of love the world has ever seen. You stop pining after the ‘good old days’ when you believed in Santa and sought out all the things you could get given.
The sense of excitement, awe and wonder that you feel you’ve lost today is restored in all it’s fullness. You now know that no amount of twinkly lights could ever give the peace and comfort that comes from spending time with the God of the universe each day in prayer. You recognize that even if you were to read ‘The night before Christmas’ 2000 times it would never create the same excitement, hope and challenge that God’s Word brings to you every time you read it. And amazingly you realize that you could be surrounded by all the possessions in the world but not one of them would be able to satisfy your soul like being loved by Jesus and belonging to the family of God does.
When you take down your decorations (even at 23 you need to learn there’s a thin line between epic and tacky), stop singing Christmas carols (which you still love to do by the way – you also have a new favorite ‘Oh Holy Night’. It gives you goosebumps every time) and whenever you say your goodbyes to family and friends (surprise! You will live in Canada!) Your faith in Jesus Christ won’t just be a warm feeling that stays for December and leaves after the holidays, He will be a constant, steadfast and real presence in your everyday life 365 days a year. Trust me you will question on a regular basis how you lived your life without Him.
You will make it your life ambition to share the Gospel with anyone who will listen to you. Things will change. You will change. There will be good times and bad times but there is only one thing I need you to know right now. God is so faithful. He will never leave you or disappoint you.
I know you are tempted to cry yourself to sleep tonight because you feel Christmas has lost it’s sparkle. But listen up little one, you are loved. Your journey is just about to begin. Who needs a sparkle when you can have the light of the world living inside of you.
Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
Lots of love,
You in 13 years
p.s. Keep reading those joke books. That knowledge will come in very handy.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”). – Matthew 1:23
This Christmas may we take time to look beyond the tinsel and see the true heart behind Christmas, may we turn off our holiday playlist long enough to hear the voice of God whispering hope and love to a lost and broken world and may use this Christmas as a God given opportunity to make Him known.